The Joplin from Juliana is the sister bike to the popular shorter-travel 29er Santa Cruz Tallboy, and it's now available in aluminium, opening it up to those who either prefer to avoid carbon or want to save a few pennies and pounds in the cost of a bike. Both the Joplin and Tallboy enjoyed a complete ground-up redesign in 2016 with the carbon models released, and we've got the new coral-coloured alloy Joplin in for a closer look.
For those who like versatility in their bikes, it boasts the ability to run both 29er and 650b+ wheels/tyres though you'll need to pick one or the other when purchasing. It comes with 120mm Fox 34 forks, 110mm of VPP suspension travel out back and trail friendly geometry.
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Juliana Joplin R mountain bike specs
- Weight: 14.22kg
- Frame: Alloy
- Fork: FOX 34 Rhythm 120
- Shock: FOX Float Factory
- Front wheel: Novatec D711; 15x110mm hub with WTB ST i29 TCS and DT Swiss Competition spokes
- Rear wheel: Novatec D462; 12x148mm with WTB ST i29 TCS and DT Swiss Competition spokes
- Tyres: Front tyre Maxxis Minion DHF EXO TR - 29x2.3", rear tyre Maxxis Crossmark II DC EXO TR - 29X2.25"
- Crankset: Race Face Aeffect 30t - 170mm (S), 175mm (M-L)
- Bottom bracket: Race Face Aeffect integrated
- Shifters: SRAM NX 11 speed
- Rear derailleur: SRAM NX 11 speed Long Cage
- Cassette: SRAM XG1150 CS 10-42t
- Chain: SRAM PC1110
- Brakes: SRAM Level T
- Handlebars: Race Face Ride Lo-Rise - 35x760mm
- Grips: Juliana grips - Coral
- Stem: Race Face Ride - 50mm
- Saddle: Juliana Segundo Saddle
- Seatpost: Race Face Aeffect - 31.6x125mm (S-M), 150mm (L)
Joplin and Tallboy: sister and brother
Juliana is the sister brand to Santa Cruz Bicycles, and they both use the same unisex frame design for their different ranges with sex-specific finishing kit. In this case, the Joplin and the Tallboy are the non-identical twins, sharing frame geometries and a design that means you can roll with either the 29er wheel version or 27.5+ if fatter tyres are more your bag.
The Joplin is designed towards the trail and cross-country end of the spectrum and has several handy features for those who favour that type of riding — there's space for a bottle cage and a removable front derailleur mount in case you want to go for a double ring transmission.
The Joplin is now also available with an alloy frame, which brings the price of these boutique brands down for those whose budget won't stretch to the carbon-framed versions.
We've got the 29er alloy version in to test as part of this year's Bike of the Year, so keep your eyes peeled on BikeRadar for updates and the full review.
Updated frame geometry
The Joplin had a major geometry and suspension update in 2016. This includes a slacker head angle of 68 degrees (2.2 degrees slacker than the previous incarnation), and an increased reach of 40 to 50mm depending on the frame size. Both these elements are designed to help make the bike handle descents better.
The chainstays have also been shortened, a move that generally results in a more agile and manoeuvrable ride experience, plus a steepened seat angle to aid climbing efficiency.
As mentioned above, the frame can accommodate both 29er and 27.5+ wheels and is available to buy with either setup, though if you do want to switch between the two you'll need to invest in the extra wheelset and tyres.
To ensure the ride experience is as consistent as possible across the two wheel sizes, Juliana/Santa Cruz have included a 'flip chip' that can be shifted between high and low settings. Set it low for the big wheels or high for the small wheels, the flip chip will alter the geometry of the bike to give you a consistent ride and body position across both.
Specs and finishing kit
Juliana and Santa Cruz's relationship is pretty open and clear, and very little differs between the unisex and female bikes. The only major differences between the Joplin and the Tallboy are in the women's specific Juliana Segundo saddle, the shock tune and the frame colours, and in our opinion Juliana is pulling ahead in the popularity stakes over Santa Cruz for the range colours it's chosen.
The shock tune is lighter, to suit the lighter average weight-to-height ratio of women compared to men, or so say Juliana. The suspension comes in the form of Fox Rhythm 34 forks with 120mm of travel and a Fox Float DPS Performance shock on this build.
Juliana offer two build kits for the alloy Juliana, along with the choice of wheelsizes. Our 'R' model (29" - the 650+ model is dubbed R+) is specced with an SRAM NX 1x11 groupset with Race Face Aeffect 30t crankset and SRAM XG1150 cassette with a range of 10-42t, plus SRAM Level T brakes. Cranks are size-specific, with the Small and Medium coming with a 170mm crank, while the Large has 175mm cranks.
Finishing kit includes the aforementioned Juliana Segundo saddle, Race Face Aeffect dropper seatpost with a generous 125mm drop (150mm on the large), Cane Creek 10 Series headset with Race Face Ride 760mm bars and a 50mm Race Face Ride stem.
Rolling stock comes in the form of a wheelset built with WTB ST i29 TCS rims, DT Swiss Competition spokes, and a Novatec D711 hub (front) or D462 (rear) both with boost spacing. Maxxis provide the rubber with a Minion DHF EXO TR in 29x2.3 up front and a Crossmark 2 DC EXO TR in 29x2.25 at the rear. They're set up for tubeless straight out of the box.
There are also a cheaper 'D' or 'D+' models with a Rock Shox Recon RL fork, SRAM Level brakes, narrower WTB i23 rims and a fixed Race Face post.
Prices, sizes and availability
The Juliana Joplin C R comes in at £3299 / $3299 / AU$TBC and is available in sizes Small, Medium and Large.
While the Juliana Joplin R isn't by any stretch of the imagination a budget bike, this build sits one up from the entry level alloy model, which retails at £2699 / $2699 / AU$TBC. Right at the top end of the scale, for the premium CC carbon model with all the whistles and bells you'll be paying £6599 / $7999 / AU$TBC, but the entry-level carbon model comes in at £3899 / $3899 / AU$TBC.
There are a couple of additional features worth noting with Juliana bikes. Firstly, as with Santa Cruz, the company offers a lifetime frame warranty and bearing replacement warranty. Secondly, although colours change year on year, Juliana and Santa Cruz tend to save their updates for major overhauls every three or so years, so you most probably won't find the Joplin updated for a couple of years hence.
The Juliana Joplin is available to buy directly from Juliana Bicycles and Juliana retailers globally.